The Intersection of Wine and Spirits: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Red Wine

1000 Stories 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Prospectors' Proof California 14.9% $19
At a recent family wedding, an uncle-in-law was especially eager to chat with me. He, a life-long Scotch drinker, was excited about a wine. Not only was he excited internally, I could read it on his face and in his body language. He meant it! He told me that he and his wife were buying it by the case and telling all of their friends about it. 

I was thrilled! I want nothing more than for people to enjoy wine enough to want to drink it again. While he didn't have the wine name at the tip of his tongue, he knew what was distinctive about it: it had been aged in Bourbon barrels. He laughed thinking of him drinking anything Bourbon related - again, he’s a Scotch man - but he went on about this rich, velvety and perfumed red that he, his wife and his friends couldn't get enough of. This was an intersection of wine and spirit in two ways - a red aged in a Bourbon barrel and a red wine that ignited the interested of a man who rarely touched "the [wine] stuff".

I had tasted some reds aged in barrels previously used for spirits and whites aged in barrels that formerly housed tequila, but it had been a while. So, when I had the chance to taste this 1,000 Stories Cabernet Sauvignon, I was eager to do so - largely thanks to my uncle-in-law.

It's a dry and robust one, even if its 14.9% abv is nicely framed by integrated tannins and a light prickle of acidity. Its black plum, cassis and licorice flavors are concentrated and pure from the start. The vigorously fresh fruit holds onto the palate for an impressively long while then gives way to zippy mineral tones. The Bourbon barrels add hickory smoke, caramel and cinnamon spice that nicely complement the wine's fruit rather than overtaking it. Despite the lingering finish and exuberant flavor profile, the wine is fairly upfront and straightforward. Still, it's an impressively well-made wine for under $20.

I wish I knew which Bourbon barrel-aged red my uncle-in-law had tasted. Regardless, I'll be sure to recommend this to him the next time we meet. There's a lot to like.